U.S. says not providing portable missiles to Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday the United States was not providing any shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to the Syrian opposition.

Russia said on Tuesday that a U.S. decision to ease restrictions on arming Syrian rebels had opened the way for deliveries of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, a move it said would directly threaten Russian forces in Syria.

“The fact is that we’re not providing any kind of MANPADS ... to the Syrian opposition,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “Our position on MANPADS has not changed, we would have very deep concern about that kind of weaponry getting into Syria.”

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli